Some long-awaited news came out of Oakland on Tuesday when Athletics manager Bob Melvin announced Chris Bassitt will start for the A’s against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
Bassitt was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Chicago White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin on Aug. 17, which caused some facial fractures. Bassitt underwent surgery one week later and has been making significant progress in his return ever since.
"Don't ask me how long it's going to go," Melvin told reporters on Tuesday. "We'll see how it goes, and the length is going to be an issue on that particular day."
Melvin said the training staff essentially has a target number for Bassitt, but didn't offer specific innings or a pitch limit.
Bassitt also spoke to reporters on Tuesday.
"There's so many comparisons you can make, but I mean, accidents, hundreds of thousands of pitchers in my day, and it's happened one time," Bassitt said.
Bassitt, in his very laidback demeanor, joked that if it happens again, he'll know which doctor to call.
Bassitt didn't miss out on a lot of workout time, even directly following his surgery. He was lucky enough to continue workouts without a lot of restrictions. That could be part of the reason why he’s returning so quickly.
Melvin even said the team had to prepare for the possibility of the 32-year-old missing the rest of the season entirely, but not on Bassitt's watch.
"I think initially, I'll be like, 'Wow,' and then, I think after that, it'll just be like regular -- you know -- Chris Bassitt doing his thing out there, so I mean, we've all kind of felt this from time to time that it happened until where we are with it right now ... so to me, it's kind of miraculous, but considering it's Chris Bassitt, not so much," Melvin added.
Bassitt's return to the team also stretches beyond the mound and into the clubhouse. From what teammates and staff alike have said, his presence with the team caused an uptick in camaraderie and the chemistry the team is known for.
Prior to landing on the Injured List with the facial injuries, Bassitt -- who earned his first career All-Star selection this season -- was boasting a 3.22 ERA with 154 strikeouts in 151 innings.